Back to School & The Family School Partnership Act

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It’s nearly fall, students are returning to school, and families are getting back into their normal routines after a less structured and often more-relaxed summer break. 

While many working parents welcome the change of pace and ability to renew their focus on work while the kids are in school, they may also feel pulled between calls to participate in school-related activities and concerns with missing time at the office. Finding balance between our personal and professional lives is essential to the strength and success of a workforce.  Creating an environment that encourages work-life balance has been shown to increase employee loyalty and drive to succeed; an important component to the success of any company. And, in some states, it may also be the law.

Nine states and Washington D.C. now have laws that protect the rights of family members to participate in school-related activities such as volunteering in the class, field trips, helping with fundraisers, school sponsored sporting events, or parent-teacher conferences, without facing consequences in the workplace.  Laws differ from state to state, so review the details for your region to confirm how your business may be affected.  While none of these laws require the time off to be paid, employers may be required to offer options such as compensatory time off, vacation days or unpaid time off and personal days.

In California, for example, The Family-School Partnership Act has been in effect since 1995. It allows full time employees who are parents or guardians time off work to participate in school or childcare activities for up to 8 hours each month (or 40 hours per year) for businesses with 25 or more employees.  According to the Department of Education, an employer may not deny, demote or dismiss an employee for taking time off for school-sponsored activities.

To review a state-by-state breakdown of the family and school partnership acts, click here. (Link goes to email)

Questions?  We are here to help guide you through this and other compliance and insurance related issues.  Give us a call.